The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Hmmm. #Zimmerman Jury Asks for Clarification on Manslaughter?

Posted on | July 13, 2013 | 33 Comments

There is no other way to interpret this: If a second-degree murder conviction were still under consideration, the jury would not be asking about the lesser offense of manslaughter. And the fact that the jury needed clarification — I don’t know what that means.

On the other hand, it may be that the jury is just asking questions, and we shouldn’t read too much into this. I’m willing to bet $100 Zimmerman won’t get a murder conviction, but I’d have bet that even before the prosecution finished. Now the question has got to be “reasonable doubt” on manslaughter. Here’s what CNN reports:

The six women deliberating George Zimmerman’s fate asked the court Saturday evening for clarification on the instructions regarding manslaughter, the judge said.
That couldn’t have even been a question a few days ago: Judge Debra Nelson ruled Thursday, over the defense’s vehement objection, to include manslaughter as an option for jurors, in addition to the second-degree murder charge. Their third option would be to find Zimmerman not guilty.
The question — which was read out in court, without the jurors present, shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday — was the first posed by the jury since late Friday afternoon, when jurors requested an inventory of evidence. After the question on the manslaughter charge, lawyers from both sides approached Nelson’s bench; their comments could not be heard.
The judge then said the court would recess for 30 minutes. Lawyers returned to the Sanford, Florida, courtroom shortly before 6:40 p.m., at which time the jury had deliberated for 13 hours total.
After some back-and-forth, and shortly before the judge announced that the jury had ordered dinner, prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed to a response to the jury’s question — basically asking for more detail. “The court cannot engage in general discussions but may be able to address a specific question regarding clarification of the instructions regarding manslaughter,” their joint response to the jury says. “If you have a specific question, please submit it.”

Anthony Branca at Legal Insurrection says this was such a “dirty prosecution” that there is no way a conviction will withstand appeal. And therefore, maybe kind of a win-win: Conviction on manslaughter, so no riots, and then sometime next year the verdict is overturned on appeal. Nobody’s going to riot about that.

BTW, the defense closing argument sucked. It just did. The prosecution was much more emotional in their closing arguments.

It’s an all-[woman jury and, y’know, feelings.

The jury ordered dinner and is apparently going to work late tonight.



  • Mike G.

    Don’t know if this is true or not, but I overheard someone say that according to FL law, the judge can overturn the jury’s verdict if the judge thinks it’s wrong. Remember, IANAL so YMMV.

  • anonymous

    Gee, wouldn’t it be great if a jury decides to “split the difference” between not guilty and not murder2? Well, it wouldn’t be for George who would have to wait for the appeal process while sitting in the general population of a Florida prison.

    I have seen the inside of CIs in Florida and I wouldn’t want to spend a year there trusting in the good will of a bunch of gang-bangers and skin-heads. Those odds are not good…

  • Mm

    That is not just Florida, it’s everywhere. It’s called a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Don’t hold your breath for that.

  • Rick Kulacki Jr.

    Judges can override a guilty verdict to not guilty but CANNOT override not guilty to guilty.

  • robertstacymccain

    Yeah, I know: Everybody whose legal judgment I trust says the judge should have dismissed the case after the prosecution rested its case. And a lot of people (e.g., Stranahan) say Zimmerman never should have been charged to begin with.

    On the other hand — and I know this isn’t a viewpoint heard much on “our side,” as it were — you’ve got a teenager who walked to the story to get Skittles and tea and ended up getting shot to death by this Barney Fife-type character. It really is kind of hard to look at all the details of this case and say that the shooting of Trayvon could just be brushed aside: “Oops.”

    This ambiguity — the difficulty of knowing exactly what happened, why and how, the unusual circumstances all around — makes it a very unfortunate kind of case to be inflated into a racially-charged national drama. The national media have been grossly irresponsible, in much the way they were in the Rodney King and Duke lacrosse cases, hyping up one side of the story.

    Whatever the result, I blame the media.

  • Ryan

    On the basis of the merits and facts, George Zimmerman’s defense was the better of the closing statements. However, in making the closing argument about feelings RSM is correct.

    I do think the jury is going to make its decision on the facts and evidence of the case, not feelings. But then again, I’m a person that responds to facts, to empirical evidence.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    This is pure speculation: There is one hold out for a manslaughter conviction and five for acquittal.

    And they are debating manslaughter.

    The only result that I want to see is full acquittal. We cannot have White Hispanics rioting in the streets.

    Unless it is Jessica Alba, Carmen Diaz, and Katherine Zeta Jones in wet T-shirts. Then Rule 5 prevails.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    That is everywhere, but Judge Nelson overturn a guilty verdict…not a chance.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    That is correct, once the jury acquits, it is over and no one can reverse it.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    It is a tragedy. But I am convinced Trayvon threw the first punch (17 year olds do things like that). And that is all that matters when it comes to self defense under these circumstances.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Let’s hope the jury is like that too.

  • Mm

    Zeta jones is Welsh. But I’ll give you Rita Hayworth!

  • MrPaulRevere

    Hot off the press from Drew M. : Verdict Reached In Zimmerman Trial NOT GUILTY ON BOTH COUNTS:

  • anonymous

    I am shocked. I really expected the state to railroad GZ. Not sure how they failed to rig the verdict but the judge must have screwed up. Her superiors will not be happy with her.

  • anonymous

    I am sure the state remains convinced that GZ hit TM in the fist with his nose first and repeatedly. The state also believes that GZ banged his own head into the concrete to stage the murder scene.

    It is their only logical conclusion…

  • anonymous

    CZJ is the best of Wales for sure. But when I first saw her on the screen I too assumed she was “White Hispanic”…

    BTW, she spells “Catherine” with a “C” and not a “K.”

  • Ryan

    Yes, yes, a special Saturday Night rule five featuring Latinas, and a Welsh goddess!

  • Ryan

    God Bless the rule of law.

  • Ryan

    Judge Nelson just lost her bid for nomination to a higher court.

  • riverlifecallie

    The teenager with the Skittles and tea was home. He made the decision to double back and teach the creepy-ass cracka a lesson by sucker punching him then pounding his head into the concrete. Zimmerman did the world a service by ridding it of a thug-in-training. And he also was defending his own life which we are still allowed to do in this country, last I checked. The only sympathy I feel for Trayvon was being saddled with two worthless parents who provided no guidance on how to be a decent human being.

  • Quartermaster

    Zimmerman should never have been charged and Zimmerman is not a Barney Fife character. RSM, you are simply getting far too emotional in the matter and you are placing yourself in the same league as the libtard “journalists” when you act that way.